If you’ve ever needed to use legal documents internationally, you might have come across the term “apostille.” An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document, such as a birth certificate or a court order, so that it can be recognized in foreign countries. South Africa, like many other countries, follows a specific process for obtaining apostilles. In this blog post, we will explore the apostille requirements in South Africa.

What is an Apostille?

An apostille is a form of authentication that verifies the legitimacy of a public document in the eyes of foreign authorities. This is especially important when dealing with legal documents, such as marriage certificates, academic diplomas, or powers of attorney, that you need to use abroad. The apostille essentially acts as a universal seal of approval for your documents.

Where to Obtain an Apostille in South Africa

In South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is responsible for issuing apostilles. Specifically, the Authentication Services unit within DIRCO handles the apostille process.


Apostilles are only issued for public documents, which include documents issued by government authorities. Private documents, like private contracts or wills, are not eligible for apostilles. Examples of public documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and court orders.

Before obtaining an apostille, it’s essential to make sure your document is valid and up to date. Ensure that all the information on the document is accurate and that it has been issued by the appropriate government authority.


Using a document agent or service like Doc Assist to apply for an apostille on your behalf can offer several benefits and convenience, especially when dealing with the sometimes complex and time-consuming apostille process. Also, Dirco doesn’t accept direct applications at the moment and the only way to apply is through a document agent like ourselves. 


Obtaining an apostille for your South African documents is a crucial step when dealing with international matters. It ensures that your documents are recognized and accepted in foreign countries. 


Ready to get your documents apostilled? Call Doc Assist today.


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